Cybercrime in Conveyancing
Cybercrime is on the increase and the conveyancing process is far from immune. Due to the high value and volume of conveyancing transactions it is crucial for firms and individuals involved in conveyancing transactions to be aware of the potential dangers. Cybercrime in conveyancing is a very real threat.
Cybercriminals have developed sophisticated methods to exploit vulnerabilities in the conveyancing process, posing significant risks to buyers, sellers, and legal professionals.
Common methods of cybercrime in conveyancing:
- Email interception – Where hackers intercept important emails and correspondence and alter bank account details. This enables them to divert funds to their own accounts, leaving you at a substantial financial loss.
- Fraudulent impersonation – Fraudsters may impersonate solicitors, buyers, or sellers, utilising stolen or forged identity documents. They can create convincing emails or even set up fraudulent websites that mirror legitimate ones, tricking unsuspecting individuals into divulging sensitive information or making payments to fraudulent accounts.
Weak cybersecurity measures within the conveyancing industry can greatly increase the risks of cybercrime in conveyancing. Insufficient policies and procedures, weak passwords and outdated software make it easier for cybercriminals to infiltrate systems and carry out their illicit activities.
Steps we are taking to protect you against the risks of cybercrime in conveyancing:
- Running strict identification and anti-money laundering checks, utilising the most up-to-date encrypted providers with face recognition amongst other things. Even though sometimes these seem burdensome, they are a crucial front line of defence against fraudsters.
- We check that your bank account details are legitimate by asking you to provide information, verifying them through the banking system and also speaking to you to double-check.
- Tracing the source of deposit funds going back as far as we consider necessary to ensure everything is genuine;
- Regular and compulsory cybercrime training for all staff, not just those involved in conveyancing transactions; and
- We are proud to have achieved our Cyber Essentials certification following an array of IT updates. We are regularly assessed on our online security based on a number of technological initiatives
What can you do to protect yourself from cybercrime in conveyancing?
- Carefully check any emails you receive from your conveyancer. The difference between a genuine email and one from a fraudster may be very difficult to spot – a single digit or letter in the address. If anything looks out of place then call us immediately.
- Look out for any changes in the type of language used.
- If you receive a suspicious phone call purporting to be from your conveyancer, put the phone down and call us back via our main switchboard reception (01752 203500).
- You can register your property Land Registry Alerts (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/property-alert). This is a free service and you will receive email alerts when certain activity occurs affecting the deeds to your property. You are most at risk if your property is empty, rented, mortgage-free or simply not registered with the Land Registry.
As the conveyancing process embraces new technology, the risks of cybercrime in conveyancing increase alongside that. By working together and increasing awareness of the potential dangers, adopting secure practices we can reduce the risks and ensure the integrity of conveyancing transactions.
GA’s award-winning conveyancing team is here to help at every step. We will work closely with you to reduce the chances of cybercrime in conveyancing and ensure your transaction goes as smoothly as possible. Call the team today on 01752 203500 or email enquiries@GAsolicitors.com.
You can also read an article about what our cyber essentials accreditation means to us here.